Thursday, April 06, 2006

Why Should I Be Anyone But Me… Especially When I’m Around You?

Someone I know does not have a good relationship with one of his/her parents. Sadly, if I chose not to elaborate on that sentence, it could describe several people in my life right now, including me. Some of my friends are recovering from abusive parental relationships. Some are dealing with the effects of an absent parent or mostly absent one. Many are coping with divorce and step-family issues. Everyone finds that the relationship they have with their parent has impacted certain key aspects of their life- living arrangements, major life choices, wedding etiquette, significant relationship preferences… the list goes on and on.

As I continue on my journey of self-discovery, learning that it’s good to fully realize who I am as a person and share that with others in my life, I find it shocking that some people can not be themselves around their parents and I’m appalled when they hide much of their true identity. It seems rather counterintuitive to be someone else around family members that should accept you no matter what (and yes, I know I should take into account the fact that many people are dysfunctional and just because they are card carrying members of a particular family unit doesn’t automatically make them saints… or even respectable people! But that’s how it should be and it’s always nice to work towards an ideal, even a far-fetched one at that). I’ve had certain unacceptable behaviors and events relayed to me over the years and its just shocking that these people don’t stand up for what they know is right- whether that be to an alcoholic parent, an abusive relationship, a controlling and judgmental relative, or even a racist or homophobic mind-set. It’s sad what we let happen when we don’t stand up for ourselves.

One person I know in particular can’t be himself around his mother. And it’s such a travesty. I say that because he is an incredible person with a great many talents. He does a lot of good in this world, sometimes just by being himself and letting others learn from his subtle example. To have to hide certain things about himself, characteristics that represent the absolute best parts of his personality, seems like a double tragedy. Not only is he faking who he is around her, but he’s faking it around himself too. I wish I could inspire him the way he inspires me to be my true self. Perhaps he’d stand up more to unwarranted criticism and disapproval from her.

Of course, I say all this in the midst of my own family issues. Ever since this whole polymory thing went down, my relationship with my father has been terribly strained. We don’t really speak to each other these days. He didn’t agree with my views and my choices and I didn’t think I needed to justify my true self to him. More so than any other time in my life, my right path and my right self is coming into a much clearer focus. I’m not going to switch lens to please someone else when I recognize that I’m finally getting somewhere. And I find it all highly ironic. He can’t understand that these changes I’ve made are making me a better person all around. They are making me the person I’ve always aspired to be- the person that I would want others to be proud of. How can something so good be such a disappointment to someone else? My mother says that he’s proud of me but it’s incredibly difficult for me to see that. And it’s hard for me to accept this conditional pride that he has based on only a few pieces and accomplishments of my life. If I were the parent, I would love myself completely and I would be proud of the strides that I’m making across the board. I don’t understand this inability to appreciate how wondrous it is when someone is learning to love themselves and make a better life for themselves. What is so wrong with me that he can’t just love and trust me to do what is intuitively right for me? It breaks my heart. But ultimately as a result, it teaches me how not to raise my own child someday.

The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself. –quoted from Lao-tzu


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